Playing any online games is all about luck, right? Well, yes, often luck plays a huge part.
But there are other factors – especially when playing one of the best internet games of them all: poker.
This classic card game has become one the fastest growing online sensations. Not surprising really.
Search around online and you’ll find there are lots of varieties of the game and lots of places to enjoy it. The online presentation of poker makes it more attractive and accessible to players all over the globe.
But some things have remained constant about any game of poker, whether you’re playing in a dimly-lit smoky backroom or at one of the best of today’s online casinos.
What is the aim of poker?
The game involves trying to build a strong hand, based on the relative value of different sequences and collections of cards.
Poker players aim to beat the opposing players in the game with a hand containing anything of value, from a single pair of cards to high scoring flush, straight or full house.
Poker is a special game – in that you play against the other players, not the house. And that provides the great unique thrill and skill of the game.
Of course the cards that you are dealt by the dealer depend on luck – but in various ways in the different forms of poker, how you discard and request more cards can be very important. And the final outcome of the game often hinges on how you behave with what’s in your hand when it comes to betting against your opponents.
So the game can be full of little bits of skill that add up to a crucial difference that can outweigh the sheer luck involved. Games like slots or bingo are fun and you need to stay alert but there’s little you can do to affect the outcome.
What is a poker shark?
Poker is a game where experience, a cool head and skills of concentration can make the biggest difference. Good players win more often than poor ones.
Usually simple practice is how players become good at poker. It’s not about being brave or aggressive, it’s about knowing when to strike – and that comes with experience.
The best players, usually those with years of playing behind them, and with naturally clear-heads and logical minds, are often called poker sharks. These anonymous winners are powerful predators of poker.
They can usually tell a newbie, a vulnerable or an inexperienced player within a few minutes of starting a game. The sharks use their skill and experience to eat up these small fish when the opportunity presents itself.
So is there any point a new player trying to play against the poker sharks?
Absolutely! Poker is still a game of chance – and there are always ways of winning, even against the most deadly sharks.
What should you do when you come across one?
Firstly, stay cool and concentrate. Notice how the sharks often sit back and see how the game is going before making a decisive strike. Do the same.
Make sure you know the exact details of the type of game, who is playing and how they play. Watch what happens carefully and realise there’s a time to cash in with a strong hand – and a time to bluff with a weak one.
Spend time learning the ins and outs of poker. Watch online training videos, read books, and above all, practice playing.
Don’t get angry, bitter or aggressive. The best players are the coolest and have learned how to control their emotions whatever happens during a game.
That means they keep making logical decisions not hot-blooded ones – they’ve discovered that’s the best way of keeping the percentages in their favour.
Stay in the game for the long term. The longer a game of poker goes on, the more chance there is for the weaker players to make mistakes.
Sometimes it’s effective to start betting big to let all those with weaker hands fold. If someone stays with you that’s when the skills and experience come in – are they bluffing or for real?
Pay attention. Can you keep your focus like the best poker players?
Always remember that every player was a beginner once. Even if you get roundly beaten by a poker shark take the opportunity to think about what happened – learn from your mistakes and what they did better than you.
Next time it won’t be so easy for them. Even the best players lose sometimes. And even if you do lose, don’t forget it’s just a hand of poker.
Was it fun, exciting and a thrill? Well, that’s the main point of playing isn’t it? Winning is good but playing is what it’s all about.
And if you get a little better at the game every time – that’s not a bad thing either.